22 April 2003 | i_has_spoken
Distracted by wretched casting, depiction
As a future ASL interpreter and general Deaf culture enthusiast, I watch any movie I can find with sign language or Deaf characters. Imagine my shock when, not only was the character of Tara not played by a Deaf actress, she was not portrayed very well by the hearing one! I understand that this was a subplot, and probably not a very important one to most people (after all, there was an animal on screen! Doing human-y things!), but some accuracy could have been striven for. Of all the Deaf and hearing impaired children I have worked with and been friends with, not one of them signs with their mouth shut. In fact, ASL has a very strong facial element, involving mouth movement and some sounds. And any family that knew how to sign would hopefully not force their child to lipread at home. Even the best lipreader only gets about 70% of the words spoken compared to 100% of the words signed in the beautiful and eloquent language called ASL. If a movie-making team can't spend the time and effort to get a Deaf character right, they shouldn't include one at all. I appreciate they had to have someone who could communicate with the chimp, but they could have made up something much more believable than a semi-famous hearing actress trying to convince me she's Deaf. Like the chimp learning to talk for the role.